Reports: US to Change Visa Policy for Chinese Students

U.S. news reports said Friday that the State Department was expected to change its policy later this month for some visas issued to Chinese students.

The Associated Press reported this week that under the new policy, U.S. consular officers may limit how long visas are valid for Chinese students, rather than the usual practice of issuing them for the maximum possible length.

When contacted by Voice of America, State Department spokesman Richard Buangan, offered no details about the reported changes, but said, “All visa cases are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis according to U.S. law and applicable regulations.”

“As always, although the majority of visa applicants receive full validity visas, consular officers have the right to limit visas as appropriate for the specific case,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, under the new policy, Chinese graduate students will be limited to one-year visas if they are studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing.

The report said Chinese citizens seeking visas would also need special clearance from multiple U.S. agencies if they worked in companies that require higher scrutiny. 

Buangan, who is managing director for International Media Engagement, and former spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, told VOA that “national security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications.”

“We are constantly working to find ways to improve our screening processes and to support legitimate travel and immigration to the United States while protecting U.S. citizens and national interests,” he said.

VOA’s Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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